Thursday, July 01, 2010

Workers bring wage hike agenda to Malacañang on Day 1

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino workers led by the group called Kilusang Mayo Uno have trooped to Malacañang to bring the wage hike agenda on President Benigno Simeon Aquino’s first day in office, as he did not hint on any wage increase in his inaugural address.

Anakpawis Party-list, meanwhile, also filed Thursday the P125 nationwide wage hike bill for the 15th Congress.

“If President Noynoy can’t feel it much yet, the people’s demand and need for a substantial, nationwide wage increase is very urgent. We re-filed the P125 bill in Congress and troop to the President’s office in his day one to let him know very well,” KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog said in a statement, referring to the President, whose nickname is Noynoy.

“His grand promises for change sounds so inspiring, but we may find it hard to imagine change if our wages would not change substantially,” Labog added.

“We already did our part by immediately filing the P125 bill sponsored by Anakpawis partylist the morning after the inauguration. President Noynoy should now do his partby certifying the bill as urgent in order to get things going.”

KMU said the president has historically influenced the start of deliberations and passage of many bills filed in Congress by certifying those as urgent bills.

“Arroyo has pinned down wages to lowest levels during her term, may Noynoy really bring significant ‘change’ in this aspect at the very least.”

Labog recalled that only four wage increases were granted in NCR during Arroyo’s 9-year term, and the current minimum wage has been brought down to only one-third of the cost of living.

KMU noted however that pressure for Aquino to deny any wage increase could directly come from his Cabinet. Four Cabinet members are members of big business chambers and corporations: Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim (Makati Business Club), Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo (SM Investments Inc.), Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras (Manila Water Company), and Rogelio Singson (Maynilad Water Services).

“President Aquino should prove that the people is his real boss by defying the wishlist by top business executives in his Cabinet to further freeze wages. He should immediately heed workers’ long overdue call for a substantial wage increase,” Labog said.

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